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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  September 24, 2011 8:00pm-9:00pm EDT

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to outcomes versus process. results versus process. and when human dignity became aligned not with people's free participation to actually fail, their free participation to participate in the process and compete equally, when it became about outcomes, it actually redefined what civil rights was. and so you see this today with this language of economic parity. right? so what makes -- we determine equality on the basis of, of economic outcomes and material manifestations rather than recognizing equality on the basis of human dignity. ..
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and of course to bring this sort of parity, equality within the public square, and unfortunately the paradigm, the measure of political and economic liberation and mobility because of those programs became reduced to those things that people have versus those that do not have those things.
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so, affirmative action, birth control, government set-asides in terms of contracting for businesses and things like that. so, you know, i personally believe that this process versus result, understanding what it means to live a virtuous life was the beginning of undermining this distinction between two home does the constitution apply and how and how do we measure that in terms of long-term outcomes? thank you very much. [applause]
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>> next, eric greitens talks about joining the navy seals after doing humanitarian work and earning a ph.d. from oxford university. it is about an hour. >> good afternoon everybody. and if you read the book, then i'm the guy that -- when the bomb went off so that is my claim to fame. [laughter] but the only reason i came here was because i wanted to get a free autographed copy of the book. that is what i came for because they promised me they would give me one. actually you know, i was lucky enough to serve with eric over in fallujah area and a lot of other great people one of whom i will mention here in a minute and i know eric's biography and some of you have read the jacket of the book. you know eric is smart. he is a rhodes scholar and goes
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to ask her and gets his ph.d. and then becomes a navy s.e.a.l. and only published one book already with his humanitarian work so most of us are just hanging out looking for the next party that eric has gone over the world to help people so pretty incredible. so way smarter than me. way better looking than me. [laughter] all that good stuff, but when i met eric back in 2007, i had no idea of any of this. he was just another you know, person. he was a navy s.e.a.l. and i was a marine. he was another person in iraq to do his job and when i met him he was totally unassuming. he walked up to me and said hey i'm eric and i'm here to help you find the bad guys in fallujah and i want to do what we have to do to get it done. we worked tirelessly, nights with no sleep. there wasn't a whole lot of eating or a whole lot of anything going on really for a long period of time.
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just getting the job done and that was the eric ainu. he was also the guy that strapped on a weapon and walk beside me in the streets and rode beside me in the vehicles and put his life on the line just as readily as i and my fellow marines it and when you have somebody like that you trust him immediately and he appreciate who they are and none of the background, none of the ph.d. or any of that stuff really matters other than who that person is and how they are going to support you and how they are going to do their job so that is eric i know and when i came home from iraq because after i got knocked in the head i came home for a couple of months and i was able to meet eric. and one of the first things we did was in the book you recognize the name travis manning, who was -- i have been a marine for 25 years now and i've never met anybody better than travis.
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he is the epitome of a marine and the epitome of a warrior and of a young man that could have done anything he wanted to do with his life and he chose to strap on a uniform, and march into battle. he gave his life so people could live. i am forever, forever indebted to people like travis because eric and i are here today and eric is writing books and i am playing golf. [laughter] because of people like travis, so when you read that name and you get a chance to look him up, please do so. but without further ado i would like to introduce the guest of honor tonight, the guy who wrote the book and the guy who really has a great message both in his foundation and everything he writes, eric greitens. [applause]
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>> first of all good evening. thank you all for coming out tonight. i've been looking forward to this for a long time and i'm especially honored dead joel came out to talk to me. joel thank you very much. thank you very very much for being here. [applause] jill and i, where joel came the other day is ever since bin laden was killed navy s.e.a.l.s have been in the news quite a bit, and the other day i was in spokane washington and somebody asked if i would do an interview for a newspaper in spokane about what it means to be a navy s.e.a.l.. so, i went out and i talked to a reporter and i woke up the next day and i was excited to see that they had written a little story and on the bottom it said, navy s.e.a.l.s says the rule requires humility as well as strength. well that is nice. that is a nice little headline about what it means to be a navy s.e.a.l.. that i noticed that story was
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right underneath a story about a wild that had been shot dead in the street. [laughter] and that story, the headline was ham on the lam. [laughter] dies with a bam. no matter what the navy s.e.a.l.s do it is tough to beat those wild stories. what i thought i would do tonight is i'm just going to start right at the beginning of the heart of this and i'm going to read to you a passage that comes from a time when joel and i were serving in iraq in 2007. we were working in an al qaeda targeting cell, and our job was to capture mid-to senior-level al qaeda leaders in and around fallujah, iraq. this passage comes from that time.
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the first mortar round landed as the sun was rising. joel and i both had bottom bunks along the western wall of the barracks. as we swung her feet onto the floor, joel said, they better know if they wake me up like this is going to put me in an uncharitable mood. mortars were common and one explosion in the morning amounted to little more than an unpleasant alarm. as he began to tug on our boots another round exploded outside but its impact mended landed dozens of yards away. in surgeons are usually wild and inaccurate one-time shots and another round landed, closer. the final rounds round chips a wall of the barracks and the sound of gunfire began to rip. i have no memory of when the suicide truck bomb detonated. lights when out, dust and smoke filled the air. i found myself lying belly down on the floor legs crossed hands over my ears with my mouth wide open. my field and structures atop
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many take this position during incoming artillery fire. they learned from men who passed on the knowledge from the underwater demolition teams that it cleared the beaches in normandy. when the truck bomb went off i had actually ended up taking out the entire western wall of our barracks. and by the insurgents were doing at the time was they were actually packing chlorine into the suicide car bombs in the suicide truck lawns and their intention was to create casualties not just with the explosion but also creating this poison chlorine cloud after the explosion went off. we were in the barracks and there was a marine next to me kind of grabbing each other. we made our way outside the eastern side of the barracks and as soon as we got outside, i fell down on my hands and knees. and because of the chlorine, my eyes were burning and my nose was burning and my throat was burning and i was down on my hands and knees and i was
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choking and i was coughing. i look down on my uniform and i saw that there was blood on my uniform, so i started to pat myself down to check for an injury. i didn't feel like i was injured but we are trained to know that sometimes a surge of adrenaline can actually mask the pain of an injury so i started to pat myself down again and again and finally pulled my hands away and i realized it's not my blood. it was the blood of my friend joel, who was standing this close to me. and when joel and i were serving, that was just one moment from our service together on the frontlines. and, the heart and a fist is really a book about service on the front lines and i talk about service on the front lines of as humanitarian work overseas working in places like us nia with refugee children, working in cambodia with kids who walked
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into landmines working in rwanda with kids have been separated from the parents. i talk about what is like going through navy s.e.a.l.s training and combat it climate in places like iraq and afghanistan and and a mouse and also write the work we do today on the frontlines here at home, working with wounded and disabled veterans to help them to find a way to win this battle on their front lines so they can come back and continue to serve as citizen leaders again. and what i have learned in all of that work is that we all have our frontline. we all have a place in our life where our hopes for the future and our hopes for the people that we love come right, right up against the reality of that the world presents to us. i believe that in order for us to be successful on those front lines it takes a combination of courage and compassion. and it takes a combination of the heart and the fist to be successful on those front lines. i'm really excited to be here with all of you today because
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one of the other things that i have also learned is that in order to be successful it takes the right kinds of friends. for me, as i'm standing here looking around the room, i am seeing friends who work with me doing humanitarian work overseas and friends who served with me in iraq and friends who worked with me at the very beginning of the mission. for me it is really fun to see all of you and see all of these friends here tonight. because i did learn that for me, we all have pain in our lives. we all suffer but there is a way for us with the right kinds of friends turn that pain into wisdom and to turn that suffering into strength. i will talk a little bit about how i learned some of those lessons tonight. one of the things i learned very early on was that it would be important for me to have the right kinds of teachers. the first time i decided i wanted to be a warrior i was 19 years old and i went overseas
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for the first time. a kid had grown up in the midwest, had never been outside of the country never been far outside of the midwest. i was 19 years old and i actually went to china. and when i was in china decided i wanted to be a warrior so what i did was i signed up or a kung fu class and i signed up for a class with this guy you see in the left-hand side of your screen here. he was a monk who had been trained at the shellen temple in china and he was considered to be one of the toughest hardest kung fu instructors in china. i studied with him for a couple of weeks and then eventually the day of the test came and on the day of the first test, all of the students were made to come out into stand like this and to balance for bricks on top of their head and come out and balance for bricks on top of your head. i thought that was the test.
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[laughter] what you can see is actually the instructor had a very different idea. if you are in the back, that is in fact a sledgehammer in his hands, and what he would do if he would ring that sledgehammer down -- bring that sledgehammer down and actually smash the birth bricks over all of the student heads. now i think that all of us can agree that that is a very demanding teacher. and when i was going back and writing "the heart and the fist" so many points in my life when i started something new there were the right kinds of friends in the right kinds of teachers who were with me and help to push me through places of pain and fear and failure in my life. and it was due to some of these really demanding teachers i think that i am very thankful
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for what they asked of me. some of the toughest people who i have ever met and the most demanding and toughest people i have ever met were mother teresa's missionaries and charities. i did some work with them briefly. these are people who wake up every day, living and working with and among the poorest of the poor and a home for the destitute and dying, incredibly strong people. i will talk a little bit more about them later. my first boxing coach, earl blair, great instructor mind. my boxing coach henry dean in oxford. i write about everything i learned from a set of wonderful wonderful teachers. what they all had in common was that they all push me and they challenge me to push myself to a place of discomfort. and one of them was one of my professors add duke university. his name was neal, and what neal
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did was he really challenged me to find a way to be of service. and nail asked me when i was 20 years old to go with him overseas to do international humanitarian work for the first time and he asked me to come with him to box. this was in 1994 during the ethnic cleansing happening in bosnia and neal asked me to come with him to actually live and work in the refugee camps. the photograph that you are seeing here is a photograph that i took of bosnian refugees as they had just stepped off of the bus into the refugee camp. at the moment that you are looking at here, everyone here is -- in this photograph had lost every material possession they had ever had in addition to losing every material possession they had, many had lost friends and they had lost family. i was actually and they are in bosnia where he first started to
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get a sense of what it meant to live with those with with the heart benefits. i am going to read a short passage from my time working in bosnia. men, women and children were rounded up and taken to concentration camps like men yaakov. community leaders were singled out and taken to other locations where they were severely beaten and tortured. they often were never seen again. the bosnians were forced to give up the houses they had lived in for generations and they were made to pay for the privilege of leaving for refugee camps. many of the families that i met victims of the ethnic cleansing have been forced to grab what they could then walk away from their homes. often, refugees were diverted to killing fields. the details i heard were often so sickening i found it hard to believe that the people sitting in the trailers telling me the
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stories were in fact the same people who had lived them. the story seemed to come from another world entirely. a bosnian man and one of the camp shelters told me both of his brothers had been killed. he had heard from a neighbor that one of his brothers had been tortured before he had been shot. his sister and parents lived in a different city and he was not sure if they were alive. he lifted his shirt and showed me the scar in his stomach and chest left by a grenade that had been thrown into his house. he considered himself lucky that his children and wife were alive. he started to cry. his children, a boy and a girl, sat listening in the corner of the shelter. now, when i heard stories like that, i was 20 years old and i was certainly moved, but i was also confused. i didn't know what i should say to someone who had lived through a situation like that. i didn't know how to respond. and, i remember one time i was
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talking with another man in the camp, and he said to me, he said, don't misunderstand. we appreciate the fact that there is a shelter here that has been provided by the international people and i appreciate there is a kindergarten where my kids can go to study and i appreciate that there is food available for my family. he said but, he said we know that if people really cared about us, that there would also be willing to protect us. and again, i didn't know what to say at the time, but i thought about that later and i realize that what he was saying was true. that it is true that in our lives anything or anyone that we love, we are willing to respond with care and with compassion but if someone or something that we love is threatened, then we are also willing to act with
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courage. and we are willing to act and protect people and to sacrifice ourselves and to be of service and to act with courage in order to protect what we love. and one of the things that i notice also in the refugee camps was that the people who were often doing -- people who lived through incredible tragedies, oftentimes they were parents and grandparents who had really young kids in the camps. so what was happening was they knew every single day they had to wake up and be strong for their kids. the people who i thought were often doing the worst in the camps were oftentimes teenagers, young adults who felt like their life have been cut short and they didn't really have anything to live for. so what i started to see in the camp was that it was certainly true that if we love anything at all but we are willing to love it with both the heart and the fist and i also started to see how for people who had survived
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a tremendous tragedy, what mattered to them wasn't just a sense of courage and discipline and perseverance but what actually matter to them and would help them make it through that tragedy was that they had a purpose in mind and they had a heart for being of service to others and that actually made them stronger in the camp because they knew that they had to be strong in order to be of service to others. i will talk towards the end of the talk about how we use that lesson and the work that we do today with wounded and disabled veterans here at home. when i saw that in bosnia and in the "the heart and the fist" i write about how i saw things in other places as well. i saw it in rwanda where i was working with people in 1995 who had survived the genocide. i was working with children many of whom had been separated from their parents. i saw it in bolivia where i was working with children on the street. as many of you know there are hundreds of children who live in places like something crucible
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livia who wake up every day and spend their days begging, selling gum and cigarettes, begging and selling gum and cigarettes like this girl who spent her day shining shoes. i saw this in cambodia, where i was working with people who had lost limbs of the landmines and where i was working with kids, some of them young kids who lost limbs and landmines whose families lived on less than 1 dollar a day. kids who were survivors of polio, who when they were fitted with prosthetics literally when they were fitted with prosthetics literally had to learn how to walk again. and what i saw in all of the situation was how important was, how essential it was for people who were living through tragedy and facing difficulty to have a sense of purpose in their lives. and a sense that they were being called to be of service to something larger than themselves. the question though for me was, how i was going to live that in my own life.
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i had been doing this work, most of it, as a student and i've been spending a lot of time reading and writing and studying and doing simple work in places like refugee camps, feeding dying patients, helping kids set up soccer teams and soccer games but still the question for me was what was i going to do with my life? and i remember at the time i was 26 years old. i was at oxford, and i was looking out of the future and really i had three options in front of me. one option was to stay at oxford university or to go and pursue an academic career. i knew that the oxford or any university would be able to give me a lot of freedom. another option that i had was to go to a consulting firm and i'd knew that they offered me and my first year, they said we will pay you more money than both of your parents combined have ever made in any one or two year period.
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that i had they have a third option from the united states. now the navy said to me, they said if you joined the navy, they said we will pay you $1332.60 per month. they said come and they said we promise you that in your first few months in the navy, we promise you that in the first few months in the navy you will have zero minutes per day of privacy. and they said the deal is the minute you sign on the dotted line you will always eight years of service, at least four years active duty and four years in the reserves. they said in return for that what we will do as we will give you one and only one chance at a sick underwater demolition training. if you make it through that training you will be on your way to being a navy s.e.a.l.. they said but if you feel that training, because there were 80% of the kids who you are still going to os eight years and we are going to tell you where and how you were going to serve.
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now, it is not a very enticing picture, right? [laughter] but i remember actually i went to an event at rose house in roadhouse is this really fancy mansion on the oxford university campus. i remember as i walked into roadhouse, walked into the marble room and i remember looking up and seeing the names of rhodes scholars who had left oxford in world war ii to fight overseas. they love to fight overseas and they had died. and i remember as i was looking up at them, i remember thinking that if they hadn't have made that choice, then i wouldn't be standing here looking up at them. and so, i thought about what the university could give me. they would give me a tremendous amount and i thought the consulting firm could give me a lot of money, and i realize that the navy was going to give me very little that would make me
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more. and they would make me more because they were going to challenge me. they were going to make me more because they were going to test me. they were going to make me more because they were going to demand something of me, and so when i thought about that decision, i just decided that i was going to choose the path that offer the greatest possibility of actually making good, helping me to serve in a better way. and, for those of you who have read the book, couple of you asked if i was going to talk about the ocs chapter which is one of do you know places -- i went to officer candidate school in one of the things they taught me very quickly was how important it would be to have a sense of humor to survive in the military. even chile, in the interest of time and questions of answers i won't talk too much about ocs except to say i graduated from there and i went to the navy s.e.a.l. training. as many of of you know bob navy
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s.e.a.l. training has a reputation for being the hardest military or turn -- military training in the world. in our class we started with over 220 people in our original class and by the time we graduated, we were down to 21. started with over 220 and by the time we graduated down to 21 and in the course of that training you what they are always pushing you so they ask you and your first week ask you to do a 50-meter underwater swim. later they ask you to swim down 50 feet, tie a not and come back up. they put you in small teams and ask you to land a small rubber boats on jagged rocks in the middle of the night. there is one one evolution calld drown proofing and what they do is they tie your feet together and tie your hands behind your back. with your feet tied together in your hands tied behind your back you have to jump in the pool. then with your feet tied together in your hands tied behind your back they ask you to swim 50 meters. as you are going through the
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training, it it builds a crescendo considered to be the pinnacle of field training, the hardest week of the hardest military training in the world and very aptly named hell week. as you are going for how weak the average class spends a total of two to five hours through the week. they have you doing physical training with logs that way a couple of hundred pounds on the beach. they have you doing races in and out of the ocean with your team. the water as many of you might now off the coast of san diego regardless of season is off -- often in the low to mid 50s and they give you plenty of time to appreciate the water. they have you running the obstacle course and one of the things that they love to do are these firemen carry drills, where you pick somebody else up and you throw them on your back and then you run with them. you pick somebody else and throw them on your back and you run with them through the mountains or through the woods.
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there is actually an evolution at one point as you were going through the training and what happens is it it is a 10-mile run and over the course of that 10-mile run, everybody is wearing a 40-pound rucksack and carrying a rifle. the trick is over the course of that 10-mile run is that every step along the way, one person is injured and has to be carried. so everybody has a 40-pound rucksack, you are carrying a rifle in every step along the way one person is injured and has to be carried. now when you look at this and you think about doing something like that, are there any thoughts about what it takes to do that successfully? any thoughts? absolutely, takes a tremendous amount of focus to make it through something like that. sir, do you have any thoughts?
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[inaudible] >> absolutely. it takes a certain amount of focus and a tremendous amount of humility, that is absolutely true. i will also tell all of you who are here that if you ever have to do this are you ever have have to do anything like this or anyone you know has to do something like this i learned very quickly that one of the keys to success is that you want, what you want to do at the very beginning is you want to position yourself so that you are standing next to the lightest guy. [laughter] and that made a tremendous amount of difference over the course of a 10-mile run if you were standing next to the lightest guy but one of the things they were doing here of course is you are going through this training and you have people signing up for this training who were high school track stars in division icollege football players and state champion wrestlers and golden gloves boxer's. tremendous athlete signing up for the training but what happens is as you are going to
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the training every single person is pushed beyond the envelope of their talent to the core of their character. every single person is pushed beyond the envelope of their talent. and one of the things that was interesting to me to see was that there were navy seals who came from all different kinds of backgrounds, different physiques indifferent athletic that grounds, different geographic backgrounds, they came from all different kinds of backgrounds but one of the things that they all had in common was a willingness at the moment of their own personal challenge, at the moment of their greatest pain, they had a willingness at that moment to think about the person to their left, to think about the person to their right and to say to themselves i need to be strong for the people who are depending on me. and what i started to see if i went through the training was i had this idea of navy seals as
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being physically strong and courageous and tactically proficient in what i started to see was actually as you were going through this training to make it through that training what it also took was a real hard, someone who even when they were in tremendous pain was willing to think about the person to their left and the person to their right. as you go through the training, there is a tremendous amount of chaos and confusion and challenges that come from all sorts of different directions but eventually, what you begin to see is what it means to have the real ethic of a warrior and again this is something that i had to learn as i went through the training. i'm going to read here a short passage where i talk about what i actually learned as i went through the s.e.a.l. team training. s.e.a.l.s are frequently misunderstood and america's deadliest commando force. it is true that s.e.a.l.s are
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capable of great violence but that is not what makes s.e.a.l.s truly special. given two weeks of training and a bunch of rifles, any reasonably fit group of 16 athletes the size of the field platoon can be trained to do harm. what makes s.e.a.l.s special is that we can be thoughtful, disciplined and proportional in our use of force. years later in iraq, i see a group of rangers blow through door behind which they believe there was an al qaeda terrorist, take aim at the terrorist, says he was unarmed and then fight him to the ground and cuffed his hands behind his back. they did this while other rangers at the very same time in the very same room position themselves oversleeping iraqi infant girl to protect her and then gently picked her up and carried her to an iraqi woman in another part of the house. as a girl, my boxing coach used to say, any fool can be violent.
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warriors are warriors not because of their strength but because of their ability to apply strength to good purpose. and i was very fortunate that i went through that training to be surrounded by a tremendous group of warriors. i want to tell you a story about a couple of them. the guys you are looking at here in this photograph come in the middle is james into the left is matt. james and matt were with me in my class and went through every day of training with me and went through all of the advanced s.e.a.l. qualification training with me so we spent virtually every day of training together for 14 months. and on june 28, 2005 matt axelson was pinned down in a firefight fire fight with the taliban. and when he was pinned down in a firefight with the taliban a call was received and james went and he ordered a helicopter to fly in to rescue matt axelson.
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at that helicopter was flying and it was shot down and that day, both matt axelson and james gave their lives. the reason i'm telling you that story is because if you had asked james duff at the moment he was getting on that helicopter, if you had asked james, what are you doing right now? james wouldn't have told you i'm getting on his helicopter in order to win the global war on terrorism. he would have told you i'm getting on the helicopter because we need to pacify this part of afghanistan. if you would have asked james at that moment what he was doing when he got on that helicopter he would have said my friend matt axelson needs me. and that is why i got on that helicopter. and i mentioned also because i think that sometimes when we think for ourselves about the kind of difference we can make
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in the world and think about all of the challenges and all of the problems around is one of the things i learned that i took from this was that at base, all we can really do most effectively is to actually be of service to the person who is was standing right next to us. and put ourselves in a position where we can actually make a difference in the life of one other person. so when i came back, when i came back from iraq -- when i came back from iraq, as joel said, one of the things that we did was we went up to visit the family of travis manning. travis who had been with us that day in the suicide truck bomb and gave his life serving there with us in fallujah. and, we wind up then we visited with travis manning family and then we came back and i went to
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the naval hospital to visit with other recently returned wounded marines. and i remember many of you might have had the experience of visiting with some recently returned marines or sailors or airmen that you walk into one of those hospital rooms and you are talking about a young man or woman often in their early to mid 20s and you asked them a little bit about the unit and ask about their hometown of their deployment and then you say to each one of them, tell me what would you like to do when you recover? and every single one of them said i want to return to my unit. they all say to you i want to return to my unit. now the reality was for the men and women who i was with that day was that they were not going to be able to return to their unit. one of them had lost both of his legs and another had lost the use of his right arm and part of his right lung and another lost
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the good part of his hearing. and one of the schools that we went to in field team training as a school called fear school, survival resistance and escape school and in that school they teach you how to survive if you are ever taken prisoner of war. one of the things that they teach you is a leadership principle called the stockdale paradox. some of you might recognize the name. it is named after general james stockdale who was a prisoner of war in vietnam and earned the congressional medal of honor for his leadership of american p.o.w.s and the stockdale paradox says this. the stockdale paradox says in a situation of great pain and danger and difficulty in chaos, he said as a leader one of the things that is essential for you to do is to maintain a 100% focus on the harsh reality of your situation. he says when you are in the of the difficult challenge it does
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you no good to sugarcoat the facts. it does you no good to fantasize about what might be. you have to maintain 100% focus on the harsh reality of your situation. but the paradox is, the paradox is at the same time, at the same time you are maintaining that focus on the harsh reality of your situation at the same time you have to find a way to maintain hope. now the harsh reality of the situation was for the men and women who i was visiting that day that they were not going to go back to their units. that was the harsh reality. and the question i think for all of us is how do we maintain hope? and i asked each one of them, tell me if you can't return to your unit right away, and what else you would like to do. every single one of them told me that they wanted to find a way to continue to serve. now they didn't necessarily use
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the word public service. one of them said i had a really rough childhood growing up and i would like to find a way to go home and be afoot all coach or a mentor. another one told me he wanted to see if he could go into law enforcement another one wanted to become a teacher. and as i was leaving the hospital that day i realized that all of these men and women had a long string of visitors coming into say thank you to them, thank you for your service, thank you for your sacrifice and it was clear to me that they appreciated that. that meant a lot to them when people say thank you. it was also clear to me that in addition to thank you there was something else they had to hear and what they also had to hear in addition to thank you was they had to hear we still need you. they had to know that when i came home we saw them not as problems but as assets. they had to know that when they came home, that we still believed in them enough that we were willing to challenge them to find a way to be of service.
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now, as we all sit here today, there are thousands of wounded and disabled veterans who woke up this morning and will go to bed tonight having spent all day watching tv, playing video games, self-medicating and problems with alcohol. we are facing today in the united states what appears to be the highest per capita suicide rate in the american military history. and i say what appears to be because a lot of the statistics around suicide aren't actually counted. for example, veterans who are coming back age 18 to 25 are dying at a rate of 5.5 times the rate of their peers in motorcycle accident. what is happening is we have a generation that is coming home, men and women like joel who were injured in their service, who are coming home and starting to ask themselves whether or not we still value them here at home.
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and i believe that the answer for that has to be yes. as they left the hospital that day i called to friends who are disabled veterans and we decided to do something about it. i donated my combat pay from iraq, both of them put in money from the disability checks and we use that to start the mission continues. the idea behind the mission continues is that we are going to help every single returning veteran who comes home to find a way to continue their mission in public service. what we do is we provide fellowships to veterans so that they can begin to serve again in their community. i want to read to you a little bit about one of our very first fellows. one of our furry -- very first fellows was a helicopter pilot named chris marvin. chris marvin was a blackhawk pilot serving in afghanistan. chris's blackhawk helicopter had
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crashed. he broke his leg, his foot in his right arm. he shattered the bones in the right side of his face and severely damaged both knees, his hips in both shoulders. he was barely conscious when a man ran up to him. is the aircraft on fire chris gasped lex knows that the man. am i the worst one chris asked thinking if i am the worst injured everyone else will be okay. chris marvin when he came back to god in touch with me and my friend and he became our first fellow. through his fellowship he started working with his fellow wounded warriors in hawaii and started bringing them out and have them start doing service projects in the community. and chris marvin graduated from that fellowship program. he actually became the director of our fellowship program and he helped us build to a place where today we can work with over 181
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did and disabled veterans who have become our fellows. chris marvin when he finished our fellowship program and he finished being a director he was accepted to wharton business school, went to wharton business school and earned an mba and after that mba he had a number of different things that were offered to him, extraordinarily luke rid of options about different directions he could take in his life. what chris did instead when he graduated he decided he was going to rededicate himself to serving his fellow veterans. that he was going to make a decision and it would enable him to continue to make himself more through service to others. i'm very proud that chris marvin is right over here and he is today a leader in this generation of veterans working with a wonderful organization that partners with the mission continues and he is an extraordinary leader and he will always be a great friends of chris, great to see you. [applause]
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and it is not just chris marvin. i encourage you to to meet some of the other mission continues fellows who are here tonight. these are men and women who came back from iraq. some of them had lost their eyesight, some of them have lost their hearing, some of them of lost limbs of some but came back with post-traumatic stress disorder and through the mission continues they have become martial arts instructors and youth hockey coaches and they're working with habitat for humanity and the red cross and mothers against drunk driving and together those mission continues fellows have actually turned to their fellow americans and asked them to join in service and together with those fellows at the mission continues we have actually had over 13,000 americans, now it and do service work with and alongside our veterans and communities across the country. and what i have learned from those men and women, what i
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learned doing this humanitarian work overseas, what i learned during navy s.e.a.l.s training, what i learned from the wounded and disabled veterans we work with today, is that what they do every day is very difficult but it is not complicated. what they do every day is that they wake up and with their heart they set a direction for themselves and they said the purpose and they set a passion in service to others. and then what they do is they walk a path every single day with courage and perseverance and discipline so they get to a place where they ultimately transform their own lives and they have a tremendous effect on the lives of others. what i have learned doing all of this work is that every single one of us has a tremendous capacity for courage. every single person is a tremendous capacity for courage.
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and all of us have a frontline in our lives. all of us have a place where hope is for ourselves and our hopes for the people that we'd love come right up against the reality that the world presents to us. if we are willing to challenge ourselves and if we have got the right kinds of friends around us and we asked him for help along the journey it is amazing to see when we tap into our own courage the way we can transform our own lives and perhaps most importantly the way we are able to have an effect on the lives of others. it is an honor for me to be here with all of you tonight. thank you very much. [applause] >> we will have a 15 minute q&a. if anyone has a question let me know and we will pass the mic to you. >> thanks for coming
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mr. greitens. i just read your book, and i was very interested in all the different theories of where you operated as a peace corps or as a worker and humanitarian aid before your military service. the thing i was struck by was that each one of them is an area, especially bosnia because i follow that area closely and everything that occurred there and served in bosnia, is that began opening up some of the worst atrocities since the second world war and the places you mention. virtually every area you work then, rob wanda, bolivia, bosnia, you notice that all the events that occurred, the tragedies, they were foreseen and especially as a special warfare operator like yourself following that career up, it seems to me studying all the
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history and everything you have detailed everything you have done everything we end up doing and the western civilized countries and when we try tried to intervene to stop these we are reactors. we are reciting after-the-fact. we are always going to be more or less reacting to the aggressive tensions of the people who propagate these situations to begin with. as a special operator what have you learned? have you evolved any theory or belief that preemption would be the better thing to do since the united states army -- a specially bosnia did you see an indication and in iraq and in afghanistan where special warfare operators like yourselves were put in preemptively to try to prevent it in the first place would be the better strategy? >> well i think actually there
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is certainly a tremendous amount that we can learn from these stories, a tremendous amount we can learn from studying what happened in bosnia and what happened in rwanda and what happened in cambodia but when we think about actually acting preemptively i think we need to think really broadly about all the tools at our disposal. the fact is that oftentimes we actually have a lot of the answers right around us. we just haven't figured out a way to use those tools effectively. i think in one of the things i write about in the book is a lot of times americans, we tend to invest in buildings and we invest in institutions instead of actually making connections to people. and just as i look at this audience right here, i can see answers in this audience. steve culberson runs youth service america program where he engages hundreds of thousands of young people in service around the globe and he builds that kind of relationship and understanding that we need to build on. scott beale who wrote -- it
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refers peas where people come from all over the world to actually serve here in the united states and learn. i actually think when we think about preemptively how do we learn and how do we prevent i actually think there's a whole broad range of tools and the military piece may be a small part of that but if we start to think creatively we have so many wonderful social entrepreneurs, so many people doing incredible things around the world and if we leverage levered semi-think that will get us much further. thank you. >> hi, you have clearly reached levels of excellence in everything you have set out to do. what do you credit that to? just in your dna or your upbringing, your faith? >> well, first of all thank you very much. one of the things i should point out and i hope is made clear when you read the book is what you may be seeing is kind of the
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end of the a very long journey and that along the way there is a tremendous amount of pain and difficulty and failure that is tied up in that. and so, first we have to have knowledge all of that. and then, to the extent that i have been able to be successful in some of these areas i think what i would credit it to many times is having a gander right kinds of friends on the journey. we live in a culture unfortunately where we don't often think about the importance of friendship, actually to our personal success in the role we play in the world. i would challenge you to go to a barnes & noble or your favorite independent oak cellar and pulled down, go to the leadership section, the personal improvement section and pull down all of the books there and let me know if you can find one chapter on friendship. it was a noise that way. when aristotle wrote a book when he was writing about what it is
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to live an ethical life and what it means to make a difference in the community and the city, as a book he divides it into 10 each chapter addresses a single subject. that subject is friendship. what aristotle argues is, he says it is people who are your friends more than any philosophy you can study, more than any quotation you can carry with you that will have a transformative effect on the person who you are. so in every single one of these endeavors i talked about my teachers in my boxing coach and my field instructors and as i looked around i saw so many, i'm so i am so blessed to see so many here. if i were going to attribute anything, any measure of success i have been able to have it is because i have had wonderful friends around. >> first, i want to thank you so much for the presentation. it was very inspiring and i am interested to hear more about
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your experience in a country like iraq and how being part of the american military and serving in the country which could seem to be hostile to the u.s., how did you feel that you have a personal mission towards this country and towards the iraqi's? >> yes, great question. actually when i was partnering with joel, joel was running what they called a mitt team a military training team and was actually working side-by-side with the iraqi army. one of the things that i write about in the book that was really obvious to anybody who went to iraq and you know we have this big debate about how many troops we needed. iraq is roughly the size of california. there are 28 million people there and so there is no way no matter how many troops he you send that you can physically impose peace. the only way to do that in fact is to create allies and to
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create alliances and we talked about something as a concept we call the complete warrior. we believe that to be the complete warrior part of it is what we all knelt means there is no worst enemy but it also, the complete word is there must be no better friend. for us when we are actually working in iraq, joel could probably tell you even better than i, he knew the kinds of falafel that the guys who he was serving with, what they like. he was building close relationships with them and again this was at a time from kind of the fall of 2006, spring of 2007 when things looked really difficult but it was actually the hard work by people like jolted and travis manning did on the ground working with and trying to -- and it was able through those relationships to build and create some level of peace there.
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>> eric you talked earlier on about the teachers in your life in the picture the teacher breaking bricks on their heads. can you talk about more of tható sometimes when a teacher breaks bricks on their heads they are a jerk. they are passionate so how do you -- [inaudible] >> that is a great question and unfortunately a lot of times when you are having the bricks broken on your head you don't know which one you are dealing with. do i really need this or not? i think one of the things that, the only way that i can reflect on this a little bit is that it is great to talk with not the current students of a teacherp but to talk with their past students.s so i guarantee you if you went rightr now to coronado, california and you asked all of the trainees what they thought of their instructors they would
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not have kind words to say and i also guarantee if of u.s. in that same question 12 months later and they had some space and they were able to reflect on that experience in helping push and challenge in that way made them, they would have a different opinion. there were many times when i was a student whether it was my boxing instructor or blair professors who i had, i really questioned what they were doing but that is part of the teacher-student relationship. out of the student you don't have a full understanding of what you need to know. but i think one of the ways we can actually you know try to figure that out for ourselves as not to ask a current student of a professor but to s. people of who had them two to five years ago and see was this someone who actually challenge you in a way? >> hayek, thank you. i just have a question. you have worked on both sides.
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coming from both sides, what advice could you give to both sides actually on how they could work together. there is a huge rift between how humanitarians work with a community and how military will work with a community so what kind of advice would you give to both on how they can effectively work and prosper in a community? >> fantastic question and i think actually the advice is really simple. the advice is just to begin to communicate. oftentimes it is the case that you have groups who are actually in many ways both personally and in terms of their mission very closely aligned in what they are trying to do and you often have zero communication between them. there is very little personal understanding so you might often have people in a humanitarian organization who are not only are not communicating
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